All Posts By

Roberta Emerson

Interview: Joan Osborne

By | LVPAC News | No Comments

In a compelling new interview with writer Lou Fancher of the East Bay Timessinger/songwriter Joan Osborne explains what inspires her about Bob Dylan’s music and how it expands her perspective and influences her music. 

“When you’re doing any covering of other people’s material, your job is to bring out something that hasn’t been discovered yet. When you have an artist of the depth and richness of Bob Dylan, you tend to go to emotional terrains that you haven’t gone to in your own work,” she said.

Because she “cut her teeth” as a singer in part by performing from early on Dylan’s folk-based, American idiom-filled work, Osborne didn’t actually discover new technical aspects to her voice while working on the project. But with years of singing, the 55-year-old says a deep richness and new textures she calls “seasoning” have appeared.

An exceptional songwriter herself, Osborne’s take on Dylan’s songs become a rich collaboration. 

Because her voice and Dylan’s are worlds apart, Osborne never pursued imitation while adapting the songs. “The point was to take the song, divorce it from Dylan’s interpretation, view it as chord progressions, the melody, the lyrics, and do it again from scratch. In that way, it really was about finding the material I loved and connecting that with my voice in a way that the song and my voice blossom.”

——> Read the rest of Lou Fancher’s interview with Joan Osborne here

Then buy tickets to hear Joan’s take on Dylan’s songs in the intimate setting of Livermore’s Bankhead Theater.

Joan Osborne sings Songs of Bob Dylan

Opening Act: Will Champlin

Friday, October 27 at 8 p.m.

BUY TICKETS NOW

 

 

 

Five for Fighting with String Quartet

By | LVPAC News | No Comments

JUST BOOKED

Backed by a string quartet, Five for Fighting will be at the Bankhead on Thursday, January 25!

MEMBER PRESALE ONLY UNTIL OCTOBER 9

 

Never has the phrase “he shoots, he scores” been more applicable than when mentioning rabid hockey fan and chart-topping singer/songwriter John Ondrasik. The Los Angeles native, who goes by Five for Fighting (a five-minute penalty for on-the-ice fisticuffs), burst on the scene some 15 years ago with his Grammy Award-nominated hit “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” and has been a mainstay on mainstream radio ever since. While he doesn’t wear tights and fight crime as his breakthrough track “Superman” suggests, his songs could bring any maniacal villain to their knees (and tears) with his poignantly sharp songs that cut deeper than a Ginsu knife.

Ondrasik signed his first deal in 1997 with “Message For Albert,” but it was his follow-up “American Town” that really took flight for Fighting. The aforementioned “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” went Platinum (as did the album), was #1 on Adult Top 40, #2 on Hot AC, and in the Top 40 Top 10. The song actually hit the airwaves, and reached #1 the same week his daughter Olivia was born. Not too shabby as Adam Sandler once said. Adding more fuel to the emotional fire, the mega-hit served as sort of an unofficial anthem following the 9.11 attacks on American soil. Naturally, he performed it at The Concert For New York City.

In his career, Ondrasik has sold over 2.5 million albums including 2004’s “Battle for Everything,” which spawned the 2X platinum “100 Years,” which continues to melt hearts, provide all ages with an instant case of nostalgia. Other hits have included “The Riddle,” “World,” “Chances” and “What If.” His music has been featured in 350 films, TV shows and advertisements ranging from the “The Blind Side” to “Hawaii Five-O.” He has also written tunes for everyone from Josh Groban to The Backstreet Boys.

Yet, there’s more to Ondrasik than the music and it’s far more important to him and countless others. “Music is the great healer as well as being a unique vehicle in raising awareness and funds for important causes,” he explains. Ondrasik has given away a million copies of a five-volume compilation album (featuring himself and other artists) he created for United States troops. He has also performed regularly for the USO.

Additionally, www.whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com was created off of his song “World,” in which fans uploaded videos showing their respective interpretations of a better world. That initiative raised more than $250,000 for five designated charities: Augie’s Quest, Autism Speaks, Fisher House Foundation, Save the Children and Operation Homefront.

Ondrasik is a featured speaker from Ted Talks to the Salk Institute. He’s also presented at various private and corporate events. He’s also graced The Kennedy Center stage, performed for world leaders and presidents, and contributed special performance for NASA to commemorate the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Mission.

When not writing killer tunes, Ondrasik is putting pen to paper for his other passion: sports. The avid Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings fan has been a sports commentator for SI.com, the Kings, and a guest on everything from Jim Rome to ESPN SportsCenter, the latter of which he became the first “band” to appear and perform.

“I recognize the immature shallowness of the adult sports fan obsession, but I’ve always had it. Lakers as a kid, UCLA, Kings etc…Many folks use music as their escape, I imagine sports as mine. Writing is a kick as I’ve always had a fantasy to be a sports reporter/writer,” he says gleefully.

As he explores the possibility of a Broadway show featuring his tunes, he’s currently on the road (not literally) performing songs as a quartet (Five for Fighting literally) and with symphonies around the country. “The symphony and quartet shows have been fantastic,” he said. “I’ve had the honor of working with some world class arrangers in my career. To present the more ambitious songs, as well as the popular tunes, in this format has refueled my passion for performing.”

…And making new music. Ondrasik’s “What If” hit the Hot AC charts and was chosen by Richard Branson (sorry, Sir Richard Branson) as the soundtrack for his non-profit Virgin Unite. And his most recent song “All for One” was penned for the 100th episode of Hawaii Five-O. Ondrasik is currently working on the follow-up to his sixth album, “Bookmarks.”

Looking ahead while looking back, the one-man Fighting army, said, “I have been blessed to have loving and supportive parents, an amazing wife and partner, and two great kids. Family is crucial to any career, keeps the ups and downs, down and up.”

Don’t miss this unique performance in the intimate Bankhead Theater!
Members log in here to buy now. 
Tickets go on sale to the public October 9th.

Celebrate Native American Culture

By | LVPAC News | No Comments

In 1968, the fourth Friday in September was designated Native American Day in California by Governor Ronald Reagan. This year it will be celebrated at the Bankhead with two events.

September 21

Widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute, R. Carlos Nakai will offer a single performance at the Bankhead Theater on Thursday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. Nakai’s music showcases the wood flute’s lovely, sophisticated sound and shows its versatility across the spectrum of musical genres. Combined with the vibrant tones of William Eaton’s ambient, lyraharp guitar, and the subtle pulse of Will Clipman’s world beat percussion, Nakai offers music that has been described as “a vast panorama of moods, from plaintive laments to soaring joy.” Tickets are just $30 with $17 tickets for students and active military personnel.

Earlier in the day, Nakai will also offer an educational outreach workshop for students in fourth grade and up from the Livermore Valley Unified School District sharing his passion for the instruments, music and traditions of the Native American culture.

September 22

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center with support from the Western States Arts Federation will host its second annual Native American Day on the plaza outside the Bankhead theater from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.  The family friendly event for all ages, offered in collaboration with Livermore’s American Indian Center led by director Mary Puthoff, will include demonstrations of tipi building, dancing and singing, as well as artifacts, crafts and food.

READ about Mary Puthoff and Livermore’s American Indian Center in the East Bay Times.
HEAR R. Carlos Nakai’s hauntingly beautiful wood flute music.
 BUY TICKETS to see R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton and Will Clipman on September 21st at 7:30 pm.

JOIN US IN CELEBRATING NATIVE AMERICAN DAY!

 

A Brilliant Night!

By | LVPAC News | No Comments

The Bankhead Theater launched the 11th Season of the LVPAC Presents series with the second annual “Brilliance at the Bankhead” Gala featuring the Grammy Award-Winning Indigo Girls accompanied by our own resident company, the Livermore-Amador Symphony conducted by Music Director Lara Webber.

The festive night began with a sumptuous reception on the plaza with delicious food and wine catered by Wente and filled with the music of the East Bay Jazz High School All Stars. A raffle for a lovely pair of 14K white gold halo design diamond earrings crafted by Lance Cavalieri Jewelers, live and silent auctions for items from unique dining and travel experiences to sports and concert tickets, energized the crowd before the Indigo Girls and the symphony filled the night with unforgettable music.

The biggest fundraiser of the year for the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, the Gala event raised more than $300,000 to help support the Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Arts Center, including $37,000 for the Arts in Education Fund.

Every year, the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center presents and produces over 250 arts events and activities, and engages with more than 10,000 students and adult learners through the Arts in Education programs.  We are so thankful for the support and generosity from our “Brilliant” community who help make it all possible!

Did you miss the event?  Watch the video shown at the event and see how the “Arts are Amplified” in the Tri Valley here.  Check out the photos from the evening taken by photographer Robert Suguitan here.  And read about the Gala in the East Bay Times here.

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR 2017 GALA SPONSORS!

 

Joan Osborne Interview

By | LVPAC News | No Comments

Joan Osborne Sings “Songs of Bob Dylan”
at the Bankhead … with Will Champlin

In an interview with RIFF Magazine, Joan Osborne talks about the road that led to her most recent album, “Songs of Bob Dylan” and where that road might lead her next.  Osborne has always covered others’ songs, including Dylans’, and has been slowly evolving an interest in singing modern day “standards” starting with his legendary catalog. “I’ve sung his songs in the past and felt a real affinity for them,” Osborne said. “Partly [it’s] because I’ve sung with him a handful of times. And also, because he’s got so many amazing songs that you’re never going to run out of options.” Read the whole article HERE.“Songs of Bob Dylan” was released on September 1st.

Joan Osborne makes a stop at the intimate Bankhead Theater on her “Songs of Bob Dylan” tour on Friday evening, October 27. Opening for her will be singer/songwriter Will Champlin, best known as a top three winner in season five of television’s “The Voice,” whose song co-writer credits include “Wolves” from One Direction’s “Made in the AM” album. For more information on Joan Osborne and Will Champlin, see the event page here.

Don’t miss hearing Joan Osborne’s take on such Bob Dylan favorites as
“Tangled Up In Blue,” “Dark Eyes” and more
BUY TICKETS NOW

 

 

Can’t Miss This!

By | LVPAC News | No Comments

When people drive down Railroad Avenue now, it will be hard to miss the location of the Bankhead Theater!  Thanks to the creativity of graphic designer Andrew Edwards, eight large banners spell out BANKHEAD across the back of the building.  Each letter shows one of the many talented artists or groups who have performed on or are coming to the Bankhead stage.*  Together the letters make a powerful visual for people passing by.

For years a surprising number of people have told us they didn’t know where the theater was, or even that there WAS a performing arts center in downtown Livermore! It’s hard to miss a three-story, red brick structure, but there has never been a sign on the back of the building with the name … until now.

If you haven’t been at the Bankhead lately, be sure to check out the list of events for the Bankhead’s 2017-2018 season — there’s music of all kinds, comedy, dance and other entertainment — truly something for everyone! Even if you can’t make it to a performance, enjoy free art exhibits in the Gallery in the lobby, drop by on the weekend when Story Coffee sets up in the courtyard, or attend one of the free community events on the lawn. The Bankhead Theater continues to thrive as more and more people visit the area to enjoy the restaurants and bars, to watch movies, meet friends, and enjoy music, or to shop, work or take the train. Come by admire the new letters and join in the fun!

The 2017-2018 Season at the Bankhead Starts September 9th!

 

* And in case you were wondering … the eight letters show, in order from left to right: OK GO, Paul Taylor Dance, Taylor Hicks, Storm Large, Richard Marx, Asleep at the Wheel, Tom Papa, and Jake Shimabukuro

 

 

Tell us what you think!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We strive to make the arts accessible to everyone in our community and we’d like to know how you think we’re doing. Please click HERE to participate in our short survey. It will take just 5-10 minutes of your time but will provide us with valuable feedback.

TAKE THE SURVEY NOW

If you input your contact information at the end of the survey, we’ll enter you into a drawing for two tickets to any of the shows presented by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center this season.* But don’t wait … the drawing will be held September 8, 2017 just before the opening of our exciting 11th season!

THANK YOU!

 

* Subject to availability. Does not include the Brilliance at the Bankhead Gala or shows presented by resident or visiting companies.

A SHARED LOVE FOR MUSIC

By | LVPAC News | No Comments

MUSIC WORKSHOP with DERIK NELSON & FAMILY

For one magical week in early August, nearly a dozen students had a priceless opportunity to expand their musical skills with talented siblings Derik, Riana and Dalten Nelson. Held at the Bankhead Theater, the students, who ranged in age from middle school on up, worked closely with the Nelsons sharing ideas, developing their singing, songwriting and performance techniques, and just having fun making music together.  With remarkable musical talents and friendly, approachable personalities, the Nelsons challenged the students to push for new skills, while building their confidence along the way.

At the end of the week, the students showcased their talents on the Bankhead Stage in a performance described by one parent as “awe inspiring.” In just a few days the group had clearly become a team, their musical abilities and creativity fostered inside the fun and supportive environment. Since then, the students have stayed connected, taking part in a GroupMe just two weeks later, and plan to stay in touch with each other as they pursue their musical dreams.

For many artists, performing on stage is often just one aspect of their love for music and the arts. The Nelsons clearly find equal joy in nurturing the musical talents of others. The enthusiasm and energy they brought to the camp mattered every bit as much as their own exceptional musical abilities. While their polished performance as Derik Nelson & Family on August 4th gave Bankhead audiences a memorable evening of jazz and folk-infused sound combined with stunning video displays, it was the personal connections Derik, Riana and Dalten made with these thriving young musicians that truly planted the seeds for a love of music in the future.

     

ABOUT THE NELSONS

The Nelson siblings have garnered over 3.5 million views on YouTube, toured over 60 locations across the West Coast U.S.A., reached over 15,000 students of all ages with educational music workshops and fundraising assemblies, were invited to perform the National Anthem at a Seattle Seahawks home game, and are proud to tour nationwide with their own headlining concert as a family.

The music workshop offered at the Bankhead aligns with the Nelson’s personal priorities as musicians and entertainers. Raised in the Pacific Northwest, all three attended public schools and, as Riana says, are passionate about giving back so others can have the same opportunities they had to experience choir, band and theater classes. They have raised money for school music programs up and down the West Coast.

Derik, known for his recurring role as the guitarist on the television show “Glee,” began performing at the age of seven and over the next decade appeared in over 60 productions. By the time he was 14 he had learned to play saxophone, guitar and piano and was already composing songs. Derik has said, “I feel most like myself when I’m at the piano or with a guitar in my lap, singing about how I feel to people who feel the same way. Music is one of the deepest expressions of emotion, and writing and performing original music is as personal and honest as you can get.” By the time he graduated from the University of Southern California in 2010, Derik had produced five original albums and helped shape curriculum for USC’s Popular Music program. www.deriknelson.com

Riana graduated from University of Michigan in Musical Theater, where she co-directed the co-ed a cappella group “Amazin’ Blue,” and has appeared on television, film and stage as well as led children’s music programs. www.riananelson.com Dalten has appeared in musical theater productions since the age of four. His skills in lighting design and video production, from concept to editing, contributes to the trio’s mesmerizing and visually immersive concerts.www.daltennelson.com

The music workshop was underwritten in part by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center’s Education Fund.
To contribute to the fund or for more information, contact the development staff at 925-583-2305 or email

 

An Interview with Songwriter JD Souther

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Writer Lou Fancher beautifully captures the heart of JD Souther’s songwriting genius in a fresh new interview for East Bay Times:

” The world’s best singer-songwriters appreciate time.

Not simply meter, syllables stretched over notes, tempo and other clock-keeper aspects of music, but the passage of time that mellows a tenor’s voice into ease and broader dynamic range.

Musical phrases and tunes pondered during a sunrise or contemplated while hiking may come together begrudgingly or spill out in a gush on occasions when the usual gear-grinding process flips and lyrics and melodies pour out like a river unleashed.

Riding that wave and a long roster of hits, JD Souther will bring his expressive music infused with pop, jazz, country rock and the Great American Songbook to the Bankhead Theater on Aug. 5. The intimate evening with Texas-raised Souther will feature selections from his new studio album, “Tenderness.” Rounding out the possible setlist, popular songs may include the title track of his 1979 album, “You’re Only Lonely,” a solo version of the 1984 duet recorded with James Taylor, “Her Town Too,” or numerous songs written for or performed by The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Roy Orbison, Trisha Yearwood, the Dixie Chicks and others.”

On the topic of his latest album “Tenderness,” Fancher writes:

“Tenderness,” he said, has a more cinematic sound than previous recordings. Inspired by Cole Porter and George Gershwin and joined on the CD by a top-tier band (pianist Chris Walters, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, trumpeter Till Brönner, pianist Billy Childs, vocalist LIzz Wright), Souther’s guitar and vocals get to expand.

“The orchestrations are beautiful, the players astonishing,” he said. “It’s the album I intended, conceived in one time period for this one album.”

In fact, Souther would have made a film, had millions of dollars been handy. Listening to the lyrics on “Tenderness,” a narrative forms, with the final track, “All Your Wishes,” serving as an epilogue. LIke a miniature almost-opera, grand themes told in simple, conversational language beg only for movement, costumes, sets and lighting.”

——> Read the rest of Lou Fancher’s fascinating interview with Songwriters Hall of Famer JD Souther here

Then buy tickets to hear him sing his songs in the intimate setting of Livermore’s Bankhead Theater.

JD Souther in Concert

One Night Only!

Saturday, August 5 at 8 p.m.

BUY TICKETS NOW

 

 

 

SHARING A LOVE FOR MUSIC

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

DERIK NELSON AND FAMILY

For artists, performing on stage is often just one aspect of their love for music and the arts. Many who have appeared at the Bankhead also seek to share their passion and skills with others. Last season, Diavolo|Architecture in Motion, Julie Fowlis, Run Boy Run, Rhythmic Circus and others all welcomed students eager to learn about their work.

On August 4th, Derik, Riana and Dalten Nelson will take the stage with the pure three-part-harmonies only siblings can deliver, offering creative vocal arrangements as well suited to popular jazz standards from the 40s and 50s, and pop/rock hits of the 60s and 70s, as to the chart-topping hits of today. Their jazz and folk-infused sound, combined with stunning video displays, promise audiences an exciting concert. But their show is just one portion of their time in Livermore. The Nelsons are also leading a singer/songwriter performance intensive for students from middle school to early college age the week prior to the show.

The intensive aligns with their personal priorities as musicians and entertainers. Raised in the Pacific Northwest, all three attended public schools and, as Riana says, are passionate about giving back so others can have the same opportunities they had to experience choir, band and theater classes. They have raised money for school music programs up and down the West Coast.

Derik, known for his recurring role as the guitarist on the television show “Glee,” began performing at the age of seven and over the next decade appeared in over 60 productions. By the time he was 14 he had learned to play saxophone, guitar and piano and was already composing songs. Derik has said, “I feel most like myself when I’m at the piano or with a guitar in my lap, singing about how I feel to people who feel the same way. Music is one of the deepest expressions of emotion, and writing and performing original music is as personal and honest as you can get.” By the time he graduated from the University of Southern California in 2010, Derik had produced five original albums and helped shape curriculum for USC’s Popular Music program.

Riana graduated from University of Michigan in Musical Theater, where she co-directed the co-ed a cappella group “Amazin’ Blue,” and has appeared on television, film and stage as well as led children’s music programs. Dalten has appeared in musical theater productions since the age of four. His skills in lighting design and video production, from concept to editing, contributes to the trio’s mesmerizing and visually immersive concerts.

ABOUT THE CONCERT

Derik Nelson & Family’s concert features pristine sound, a state of the art light show, and an integrated 20-foot video display. Derik’s interactive “clones” are featured throughout the show on the five screen video “wall.” The multiple “Derik clones” play many different instruments as a “virtual band.” This innovative technical marvel designed by Dalten uses the latest in audio/video technology to take audiences on an aural and visual journey through time, space, an impressive array of landscapes, weather conditions, and musical “settings.”

Listeners will be impressed with the perfectly blended three-part-harmony vocals, in addition to Derik’s thoughtful arrangements of cover songs from a variety of genres, styles, and eras. These genuinely kind, charming, and talented siblings have a bond that’s palpable, both on stage and off. Audiences of every age are sure to be mesmerized from the opening to the dazzling finish. WATCH a video preview of the Nelson’s music.

BUY TICKETS NOW 

All seats $30.  Students/Active Military Personnel $16.

 

 ABOUT THE MUSIC INTENSIVE

The week-long intensive with the Nelson’s runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm, July 31 to August 4. Students with a strong interest, talent and passion for music will be able to take their skills to the next level. The week will include a mix of demonstration, small group work, and one-on-one coaching in songwriting and vocal techniques, stage performance, harmonizing, collaboration, composition, and more. Students will write a song and perform it in a showcase for family and friends on the final day.

Playing a musical instrument is not required, say the Nelsons, just “a willingness to collaborate, write lyrics, think outside the box, and improve and challenge themselves during the week.” The intensive, underwritten in part by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center’s Education Fund, costs $300. Some scholarships are available. For registration contact Kiran Guleria at 925.583.2321

 ABOUT THE NELSONS

The Nelson siblings have garnered over 3.5 million views on YouTube, toured over 60 locations across the West Coast U.S.A., reached over 15,000 students of all ages with educational music workshops and fundraising assemblies, were invited to perform the National Anthem at a Seattle Seahawks home game, and are proud to tour nationwide with their own headlining concert as a family.

DERIK
singer, songwriter, producer, audio engineer

Lead guitarist on TV’s “Glee” for four years. Singing voice heard on FOX’s “Raising Hope” and “New Girl,” CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother,” and NBC’s “Go On” and “The Voice.” Bachelor of Science from University of Southern California, where he helped to shape the curriculum that became the Popular Music Degree program. Derik was awarded the Brian Wilson Music Scholarship for songwriting, and received first place in the Indie International Songwriting Competition for his original song, “The Way It’s Gonna Go.” www.deriknelson.com

RIANA
singer, press, management

Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan. Casting Associate for FOX’s “Empire.” Onscreen vocalist for Renee Zellweger’s pilot “Cinnamon Girl.” Lead vocalist for Princess Cruises. Managed summer program for Disney in China teaching children 5-7 years old. Riana serves on the Board of Directors at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia, WA. Marketing, social media, painting, calligraphy, and empowering young women are her passions in addition to singing. www.riananelson.com

DALTEN
singer, video/light/tech designer

Attended Arizona State University with an extensive musical theatre background. Appeared on several episodes of television’s “Glee.” Conceptualized, designed, filmed, edited, & executed over 150 separate videos in perfect sync, to create visual “immersion” to the musical experience. www.daltennelson.com

 

 

 

 

Call 925.373.6800 or email websales@livermoreperformingarts.org for tickets and information